ROSIE WHITE charged through Manchester City’s defence to put Liverpool Ladies ahead in the 4th minute at the Academy Stadium today, scoring the first goal City have conceded in 8 league games.
The Reds produced an excellent first half performance, with brilliant passing and movement. Scott Rogers’s side were also unlucky not to double their lead before the break as Caroline Weir struck the crossbar and even unluckier to then concede an equaliser in the second half as City kept their unbeaten record intact through Jane Ross’s leveller.
Rogers had named an unchanged side from the Reds last game before the mid-season break, the only change to the match day squad seeing Martha Harris making an appearance amongst the substitutes following injury.
Before White struck the opener City had looked threatening in a move of their own; Satara Murray getting across to prevent Toni Duggan from shooting.
Murray had kept Duggan quiet in the previous game and continued her impressive run of form with another strong display against the England forward.
Duggan would be left rueing this opportunity as almost immediately Liverpool opened the scoring at the opposite end. Shanice Van De Sanden instrumental and White the benefactor, beating two defenders to slide the ball past Karen Bardsley and into the back of the net.
Liverpool then dominated the remainder of the half, Van De Sanden fouled 40 yards out and Alex Greenwood – who netted for England during the international break – went for goal only to see Bardsley wise to her effort and across to stop the ball crossing the line.
Bardsley was also called into action when another smart move involving Kate Longhurst, Laura Coombs and Tash Harding resulted in a probing cross looking for White and Caroline Weir.
There was plenty of pressure from the Reds in and around the City penalty area, Harding and Weir unable to capitalise on Demi Stokes’s stray pass and Van De Sanden earning a corner from which Weir’s shot was deflected out for another.
When called upon Liverpool’s defence was resolutely sound, Gemma Bonner halting a quick counter by Stokes and her partner in central defence Sophie Ingle blocked Jennifer Beattie from nabbing an equaliser. The Scottish midfielder had connected with Duggan’s set piece yards from goal.
The majority of Liverpool’s chances were coming down the right. Murray finding the space to press forward and cutting the ball in towards Weir, yet her perfectly weighted shot struck the crossbar.
City manager Nick Cushing made one change at half time as Nikita Parris replaced Daphne Corboz however it was again the Reds who would create the first chance of the half, White driving the ball to Harding in the box.
Harding denied a goal against her old club only by a well-timed challenge from former Red Lucy Bronze.
The home side grew into the game, invigorated by the substitution but Liverpool continued to defend well; a Steph Houghton free kick crashing off the wall and the Reds clearing the resulting free kick with ease.
Siobhan Chamberlain then produced a quartet of saves to keep Liverpool in the game, first gathering a Parris hit struck from 20 yards, then denying Duggan and debutant Tessel Middag – perhaps the most impressive save of the three as the Reds no.1 could only have seen the strike late yet dived to keep the ball out.
Jill Scott was also on target with Chamberlain palming away her effort as the Reds came under immense pressure in the second half.
Man City equalised after winning possession deep in the Liverpool half, the ball finding its way wide to Parris who curled a deceiving cross towards Jane Ross who tapped home from just yards out with 25 minutes to play.
With the score level both teams chased a winner, Weir going on a mazy run unchallenged to try her luck from 30 yards but the hit narrowly over the bar and Bonner heading a free kick just wide.
Into the final minutes City sent Megan Campbell on for Abbie McManus, Campbell’s throw ins an impressive part of her skill set and causing trouble amongst the Reds defence – each one landing inside or at the edge of the 6-yard box.
Liverpool also had a last roll of the dice with Niamh Charles replacing Harding, the young winger with the Reds last chance of the game and prevented from scoring the winner by Bardsley.
LIVERPOOL LADIES: Chamberlain, Murray, Bonner (C), Ingle, Greenwood, Longhurst, Coombs (Zelem), Weir, Van De Sanden (Lundh), White, Harding (Charles)
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Rosie White